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The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories

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The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Described in an introduction by editor Andrew Karre as “the public performance of the private act of story craft,” this assemblage of more than 30 short stories, many of which first appeared on the authors’ joint blog, is akin to an artist’s sketchpad. Technique, not story, is often foregrounded. “The Power of Intent,” a Yovanoff offering, is a “be careful what you wish for” story with little narrative tension, but along the way it perfectly depicts the emotional undercurrents of a high school dance. And the mysteries of Gratton’s brief but potent “Puddles” remain mysteries, though she quickly establishes a chilly atmosphere and fiery antagonism between her protagonists. Garlanding the snippets are handwritten doodles and notes that offer only occasional enlightenment about the authors’ writing processes, but abundantly display their mutual admiration. There are lovely stretches of prose and many funny, personable marginal exchanges—as an entertainment, an object, the book has its pleasures. Overall, though, the content is better suited to its native milieu, the Web. Ages 12–up. Agent: (for Stief-vater and Gratton) Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary Agency; (for Yovanoff) Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Patrice Russo Belotte
The reader is never alone in this collection of fantastical short stories. It is not just the vampires , zombies, psychopaths, and angst-filled wizard-like-teenagers that keep the reader company. It is the words and voices from the writers annotations that provide the reader with a constant companion as they progress through each story in this collection. Gathered from their collaborative website, www.merryfates.com, each piece of fiction in this collection comes with commentary from the writer herself and that of her colleagues. Critical, and often funny, each selection is prefaced with a short explanation from the writer about her inspiration or attraction to the story, and then critical praise or encouragement from one of the other writers. Throughout each story, the margins are filled with notations, pictures, explanations, and praise that help the reader understand the story and the process of writing. When examined closely, each notation provides a creative idea for the reader to pursue. Perhaps the most important of these ideas is that writing should not be done in isolation, as each writer repeatedly praises her colleague's for her success and creativity. The essence of collaboration is constant, even as the reader is drawn into the individual universe of each character within each story. Reviewer: Patrice Russo Belotte
VOYA - Heidi Uphoff
These self-proclaimed “merry sisters of fate” and best selling young adult paranormal fiction writers began publically collaborating and honing their craft in 2008 with a blog site, merryfates.com. Their efforts culminated in The Curiosities: A Collection Of Stories, a selection of the best flash fiction and short stories from their blog. These stories host a wide array of themes, characters, plots, and worlds, allowing the authors to experiment and improvise. The authors occasionally used the same prompt, giving readers three different perspectives on an Arthurian tale or a post-apocalyptic zombie world. The collection also features meta-analysis by Stiefvater, Gratton, and Yovanoff. The margins are filled with handwritten pictures, diagrams, comments, critiques, and praises. Although most of the stories featured in The Curiosities are very short pieces of fiction, the worlds and characters feel real. In the best stories, the whimsical and grotesque fade into the background, revealing a very human tale with universal themes--not that the whimsical and grotesque are not an integral and well-done part of the work. The Curiosities offers the reader enough vampires, fairies, and goblins to sate the palate of any paranormal lover. The comments the writers have included in the margins about their own and each other’s stories offer a unique glimpse into their creative processes. The Curiosities is a weird and wonderful collection of flash fiction that will delight any aspiring writer or fan of paranormal fiction. Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
The paranormal trio of Gratton, Stiefvater and Yovanoff here translate their collective writings from their blog, Merry Sisters of Fate, into a collection of stories that feature Nordic mythology, murderers and secrets. In addition to the author's introduction at the start of each story, doodles and handwritten marginalia hint at the interaction among the authors during the brainstorming and writing process. Notable stories include Yovanoff's look at two killers meeting for the first time, Stiefvater's humorous take on zombies, and Gratton's exploration of sacrifice and Samhain. A silent dinner with ghosts gives Gratton an opportunity to create a narrative with no dialogue, while Stiefvater looks at the cost of immortality and the ways people gain it, and Yovanoff takes a peek inside the head of someone who's been pushed to the brink. While most of the stories are strong, the Arthurian suite doesn't have the same sense of magic, simmering madness and insight of the other stories. The marginal notes sometimes seem to be a bit of a lovefest among the authors, but there are flashes of genius as well as humor in them, and the illustrations add back some edge. For those with dark hearts looking for the edgier side of paranormal fiction, this will be something to stay up with at night. (Anthology/paranormal. 14 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—The authors behind the group blog Merry Sisters of Fate have combined their talents to create a collection of 30 fantasy short stories that dazzle. The selections themselves are finely crafted, with fully realized characters and unique settings. Each one has an introduction that reveals the author's thought processes in creating the story arc. Amusing handwritten comments, replies, and drawings allow readers a glimpse into the women's friendship and how their critiques of one another's work helped them grow as writers. A handwriting key at the beginning of the book permits readers to identify who said what, lowering the wall between writer and reader to reveal each author's personality. Yovanoff has a gift for stories that explore evil soul mates. Stiefvater examines power and modern society with a healthy dose of angst and a dash of fire. Gratton creates a world of complex magic and courageous characters whose stories usually end with a choice to be made. The book opens strongly with a trapped vampire and a girl who must choose whether or not to free him. There are tales of trolls, zombies, and psychopaths, and even Arthurian legends. Each story stands totally on its own, but together, the cohesive group is more than the sum of its parts. This anthology is a must for all YA collections. Promote it to traditional fantasy lovers, paranormal fans, and aspiring authors. It might even be the inspiration for starting a library writer's group.—Cindy Wall, Southington Library & Museum, CT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761375272
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/2012
  • Pages: 291
  • Sales rank: 684,167
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 870L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Maggie Stiefvater
Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater's life decisions have revolved around her inability to be gainfully employed. Talking to yourself, staring into space, and coming to work in your pajamas are frowned upon when you're a waitress, calligraphy instructor, or technical writer (all of which she's tried), but are highly prized traits in novelists and artists (she's made her living as one or the other since she was twenty-two). Maggie now lives a surprisingly eccentric life in the middle of nowhere, Virginia, with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, and neurotic dog.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2013

    Beautiful, but get the real book not the electric one

    I have always loved these authors and this book is great to read through over and over. But I would suggest you buy a real world copy instead of an electronic one. Half the fun of this book is the notes and doodles the authoresses leave throughout the margins, however due to the fact that electronic readers change fonts and sizes these had to be removed. They were put into the end of the stories. But only a scant few of all the comments, very few of the doodles, and made it much more difficult to see what they were getting at as well as getting rid of the fun of seeing the little conversations between the three in the margins as you read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    A Curious Collection

    This group of short stories has forced me reconsider my view on short stories as a whole. Each one is well thought out, creative, and provokes creativity in the reader, which is a rare quality in books these days.

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  • Posted April 13, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    As I am not a fan of short stories, this book was an unexpected

    As I am not a fan of short stories, this book was an unexpected pleasure.  The three writers offer very short stories of which many had been published on the Merry Mates blog.  The paranormal element will appeal to many teens (and adults) and the story lines always seemed to catch me off-guard and definitely wanting more.  A superb story element was the notes in the margins by the three authors, each "written" in a different font.  As an educator, it reminded me of the notes written on student work to advise/question/comment.  What a great strategy to employ for student review of other students' work.  A teacher in my school is  almost finished reading the book and loves it!  I anticipate a long hold list for this book.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Curiosities is like nothing I've ever read before. It's like

    The Curiosities is like nothing I've ever read before. It's like reading through author's notes. It's informative and helps the reader see how the author's mental process works, and there are a lot of fun comments and sketches in the margins from the other authors! While seeing writing in progress and reading comments from all three authors about their works, you are simultaneously being entertained by the short stories themselves. I found I just wanted to keep reading them. So while you could read slowly and do one or two stories at a time, more likely you'll breeze through this collection in no time.

    The stories were fantastic. Each one a little bit better than the next. They are all about different subject matter but they all carry the magic that each writer installs in all of their work, do fans of Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff will be pleased by this collection. But if you haven't read these fabulous authors yet, no fear. The Curiosities will serve as the perfect introduction to their work.

    The Curiosities is the perfect book for writers, but will also keep us readers fascinated an highly entertained. But best of all, I think, is that the stories and the way they are presented is very inspiring to young writers. I highly recommend it to everyone and will be purchasing a finished copy for myself!

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  • Posted August 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Delightful Short Stories with Lots of Twists

    After having reading works by each of the authors and visiting the Merry Sisters of Fate website, I was excited to see this book come out. Each short story features a little intro by the author of that story along with another one of the writers and their view on the story.

    All of the stories have handwritten notes from the authors in the margins. Often they talk about what they liked and what worked and how they got to that point in their writing process (and maybe even what one author wishes she would be able to write as well as the others). I’m not certain if the finished book will state whose comments are whose, but in the ARC it didn’t show that – so unfortunately I couldn’t tell who was saying what. It would have been nice to know if it was the author commenting on her own work or if it was one of the other two making comments.

    Mixed in between the stories are a few extra handwritten things from the authors. The usual – hand drawn diagrams of what subject matter makes up their brain, what their office space looks like, lists of what goes into their stories. I think that the handwritten bits are the best part of this book, especially for writers.

    The stories vary in length from a couple of pages to 20ish (at least via a digital book). There are a number of standouts from each other, as well as a number that just went on and on and seemed to get lost. That was expected though, as what they have done on their website is new and different, clever and quirky.

    Any fans of any of these writers will find something to delight them. If you haven’t read one, two, or any of the writers – then this is a great anthology to get to know them and find which ones writing style you like best. While they are all very different, I think most that like one author will probably be fond of each of them.

    ARC reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2012

    :)

    :)

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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